Ontario budget promises billions for highways, commits to ELDs

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Ontario’s provincial government is promising big spending on highways and other infrastructure in a budget released ahead of a June election.

The document commits $25.1 billion over the coming decade to expand and rehabilitate highways, including work on a new Highway 413 for Halton, Peel and York regions that the government will save drivers up to 30 minutes per trip.

“Highway 413 is not only a fundamental piece of infrastructure, but also a key part of Ontario’s success in the future,” said Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) president Stephen Laskowski, quoted in the budget document itself.

Ontario legislature
(Photo: iStock)

Other projects cited in the document include a new four-lane Bradford Bypass to connect highways 400 and 404, a new twinned bridge connecting St. Catharines and Niagara on the Lake, and steps to support the future widening of Highway 401 between Oshawa and Port Hope. Another phase of construction for the new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph, the four-laning of Highway 17 from Arnprior to Renfrew, and the reconstruction of 21.4-km of Highway 101 are also referenced.

The budget also commits to ongoing work on electronic logging devices (ELDs), ahead of a mandate for such technology that is scheduled to be enforced Jan. 1.

“Ontario supports reducing interprovincial trade barriers through the federal-provincial-territorial Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT), where the province is leading work on testing and deployment of automated and connected vehicles and on electronic logging devices for the trucking industry,” it said.

Governing Progressive Conservatives are projecting a $19.9 billion deficit this year.